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4             MY    COUNTRY   AND    MY    PEOPLE

are the happy people who rule the world and import mer-
chandise from one part of it to another, and who are always
in the right. Others find themselves beset with doubts and
perplexities, with a feeling of awe and bewilderment, perhaps
of awe and mystification and they end where they began. But
all of us feel China is there, a great mystical Dasein.

For China is the greatest mystifying and stupefying fact in

the modern world, and that not only because of her age or

her geographical greatness.   She is the oldest living nation

with a continuous culture; she has the largest population;

once she was the greatest empire in the world, and she was a

conqueror; she gave the world some of its most important

inventions; she has a literature, a philosophy, a wisdom of life

entirely her own; and in the realms of art, she soared where

others merely made an effort to flap their wings. And yet,

to-day she is undoubtedly the most chaotic, the most misruled

nation on earth, the most pathetic and most helpless, the most

unable to pull herself together and forge ahead. God—if there

be a God—intended her to be a first-class nation among the

peoples of the earth, and she has chosen to take a back seat

with Guatemala at the League of Nations; and the entire

League of Nations, with the best will in the world, cannot

help her—cannot help her to pull her own house in order,

cannot help her to stop her own civil wars, cannot help her to

save herself from her own scholars and militarists, her own

revolutionists and gentry politicians.

Meanwhile—and this is the most amazing fact—she is the
least concerned about her own salvation. Like a good gambler,
she took the loss of a slice of territory the size of Germany
itself without a wince. And while General Tang Ytilin was
beating a world record retreat and losing half a million square
miles in eight days, two generals, an uncle and a nephew,
were matching their strength in Szechuen. One begins to
wonder whether God will win out in the end, whether God
Himself can help China to become a first-class nation in spite
ofheiself,                                                                          •

And another doubt arises in one's mind: What is China's
destiny? Will she survive as she so successfully did in the past,
and in a way that no other old nation was able to do? Did